Honington: 100 soldiers from 1st Royal Tank Regiment expected home from Afghanistan today

ABOUT 100 tank regiment troops are expected to return to their home base in Suffolk today after a six month tour in Afghanistan.

The soldiers from H Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment, will be met by families and loved ones when they arrive back at RAF Honington, near Bury st Edmunds.

They are expected back after 5pm.

On arrival at the base, the soldiers will form up at their Squadron Offices where the Squadron flag will be raised to signify their return home, before marching to the mess led by pipes and drums, where they will be greeted by their families.

Based in Camp Bastion, the soldiers have been responsible for delivering the Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (RSOI) training that is mandatory for all soldiers entering Afghanistan.

An MoD spokesman said: “It is the final stage of a six-month-long training package to ensure that the soldiers have the most up-to-date tactics, techniques, procedures and intelligence at their disposal.

“The training also provides a time for initial acclimatisation to allow the body to adapt to the harsh climate of Afghanistan, reducing the impact of heat on the body’s performance.”

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Amongst those returning will be Lieutenant Sean Sapsford. Originally from Suffolk, this was his first operational tour. His fianc� Georgina will be there to meet him. The couple are due to get married in Spring 2013.

Married father-of-two Staff Sergeant Lee Simon will also be met by his family. This was his second operational tour, having deployed in 2009.

The Honington-based soldiers form an integral element of the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance Regiment and are equipped with Fuchs Reconnaissance Vehicles and specialist vehicles mounted NBC detection equipment.

H Squadron’s colleagues in A Squadron are based in Warminster and are equipped with Challenger 2 tanks.